Mutiny on board the Sovereign of the Seas. — The American clipper ship Sovereign of the Seas, Warner, of New York, from Melbourne, had arrived in the Thames. Her logbook shows that a serious affray occurred during the passage from Melbourne, arising from the insubordination of some of the crew, who are at present confined on board in irons. 17th of March, the ship on the Equator, lon. 32, a quarrel took place between two of the steerage passengers (of whom there were seventy-six on board,) and one of the crew. The mate interfered, and ordered the seaman on deck, but he refused and became abusive, when he was put into irons by direction of the captain. After a lapse of about fifteen or twenty minutes, all the crew mustered aft, and demanded of the captain the immediate release of the man (an Englishman), or they said they would take the ship from him, amid loud murmurings and threats. Previously, it should be mentioned, reports had reached the captain of a contemplated attack, to seize the ship. The captain, observing the determined conduct of the men, at once armed himself, as also did the officers, and then proceeded on deck, and ordered the men forward; they refusing, he, with his officers, drove them back at the point of the bayonet; in the scuffle four men got wounded. Most of the men had some weapon in their possession, either belaying pin, crowbar, or knife, and their conduct was of such a character as to create alarm for the safety of the ship. After being driven forward, they still refused to return to their duty, and mustered in the forecastle. The captain, perceiving the serious nature of the case, consulted with the chief cabin and a large number of the steerage passengers, which resulted in their arming themselves, and aiding the captain in seizing the ringleaders. Six were picked out, and they had been placed on one side of the deck, when a man named Hall stepped forward from the remainder of the crew, and urged them not to stand by and see their shipmate put in irons, but to stand up for them. The captain, seeing the man making towards him, cautioned him not to move a step; if he did, he would blow his brains out. He persisted, when the captain in raising the pistol, it by some means got discharged, and the contents passed through the legs of the third mate — Mr. Myers, a German — wounding him severely. Hall, with the rest, were immediately seized and dragged below, where they were securely ironed; they were ten in numbers named George Suttors, John Benson, Henry Bundy, George Gall, Irvine Lawry, William Watts, Peter Sturman, George Davidson, James Bartlett, and Samuel Holme. They were placed between decks, where they have since been confined. Three Thames police officers boarded the ship on the arrival in the river, into whose custody it is expected the mutineers will be given as soon as the vessel has discharged her cargo. The American Consul has addressed Lord Palmerston, with a view of obtaining the government sanction respecting the disposal of the prisoners on board — most of them being English subjects. It is understood that the government have declined to grant the application made through the American consul to authorize an adjudication in the case. In consequence of which the consul has determined, it is stated, to send the eight prisoners, who continue in irons on board the ship in the East India Dock, by the next mail steamer from Liverpool to New York, to be tried there on the charge. The relatives of some of the men, however, are preparing a petition to the Home Secretary, imploring his lordship not to permit the transfer of the prisoners to the United States, but to direct the disposal of the case on this country.

Boston Daily Atlas, May 13, 1854.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius

Sjöhistoriska Samfundet | The Maritime History Virtual Archives | The Boston Daily Atlas.

Copyright © 2000 Lars Bruzelius.